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Discussion Starter #1
I have been and still cleaning up about 2 acres of ground at the end of the farm that had grown up over the years. I was thinking of keeping it separated from the cows and dedicate it for the bees. I have heard the best thing to put in there for the bees is sweet clover?

Does anyone have a suggestion?
Should I keep it just straight sweet clover or mix it with something?
Is there a name for the seed I need to purchase?
How many pounds of seed would I need for sweet clover?

Any suggestions welcome, I live in eastern Ky and we pretty well have all the seasons here. Im sure the the bees will have to share it with deer and turkeys also, no way to keep them out and plenty around here. Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions.
 

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You'll have to treat it like a deer food plot, killing all of the competing grasses and weeds. Otherwise, the clover struggles.
I do two things..
1. Round-Up...will kill all currently growing grasses and weeds.
2. Pre-Emergent...will kill all seeds in soil.

Plant according to the directions for the Round-Up and Pre-Emergent. If I remember correctly, it's about a month after application. Plow and then cast the clover straight onto the surface. Clover cannot be covered more than 1/4". Otherwise it will not germinate. The day before a rain is perfect. Oh, and never forget...LIME, LIME and LIME! Clover does not do well in acidic soil.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply Riverhawk, I will lime heavy, the ground was old growed up creek bottom with large sycamore, walnut, and soft wood trees. I wont be able to plow about half of it due to the huge amount of stumps and roots but will disc it heavy as possible to loosen the soil. Im sure the soil is high in acid right now due to all the leaves that have fallen there for years. I about have it cleaned now except burning of the brush piles which I will complete this winter. I will apply a few tons of lime before seeding. Do I need to plant the Dutch White Clover and Yellow Sweet Clover? Will the Yellow sweet clover shade out the white clover since it grows much taller? Hope to start putting something in this spring. I was told to wait to sew the clover after the threat of frost is gone also?
 

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All that round-up is no good for your bees. Just buy some ball clover, and overseed a little. You really want 2 acres soaked with fluvalinate?
 

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All that round-up is no good for your bees. Just buy some ball clover, and overseed a little. You really want 2 acres soaked with fluvalinate?
1. What is the connection between Round-up & fluvalinate?

2. What is Ball Clover?
 

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Seems to me you are getting a lot of poor advice, common on this message board.
This from a licensed landscape contractor with 40 years of knowledge about chemicals:
Roundup will not hurt your bees and is glysophosphate, not fluvinate. By most people's opinions is not dangerous to you, animals, or the soil. Someone is very confused. You do not soak the soil with it, you spray it on the foliage of perennial weeds that you want to kill. If you do not have perennial weeds, just turn under the annual weeds and skip the roundup
Definitely do not apply a pre-emergent if you are going to be seeding in the future. Many pre-emergents will kill all spouting seeds for many months and even years to come.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the advice Frank, Im glad to hear your knowlodge on the Round Up. I have cattle and run them on electric fence, I spray the fence line aprox 4 miles about twice a year with round up, I was really dreading breaking out the weed eater on such a distance.

I had never heard of Ball Clover and have been doing some reading this evening on the net about it. I dont know of anyone using it in the region Im in. Seems to be mostly a southern clover but did say it would grow as far north as Maryland.

I might just stick with yellow sweet clover and maybe mix some dutch white clover with it?

Here is a link I found on Ball Clover for Heaflaw, http://www.ballclover.com/
Thanks for everyones comments and help....
 

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Mike,

Something to consider - Sainfoin (legume) -- It has pink flowers, grows up to 4 foot tall and from I've read about it, the bees love it. If you have cattle, then you can use it for fodder or let them graze on it

I am seriously thinking about planting a couple of acres with it. The initial cost of the seed is expensive plus any shipping costs as well.

I tried my local Agways and they weren't able to obtain it thru their sources, so the only way for me to get it is to have it shipped in from out west.
 

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Have you looked into using plants native to your area rather than planting a non native crop plant (clover)? Get ahold of your local unversity extention, they can be a great help.
Generally you can find a mix of native grasses and plants that will bloom through out the growing season. they look great, require less care, and the bees love them.
 

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Stand corrected as per Round-Up. It is Glyphosate, which I still would not put on my lawn. It has been so long since I have seen these used that I mixed it up with Mavrik. As far as being "very confused" I am not. I do not use any pesticides, and I do not recommend anyone use them on their home lawns when they are unnecessary, as they are 99.9% of the time.
 

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Plant something you know the bees have been known to work and what you think is pretty and makes you feel good to look at, because you may be the only one to get any good out of it. If there is something blooming they like better when your crop is blooming you won't see a bee on it.:doh: I think they do this to show us who the boss is.:cool:I treat them like i do my wife, i just keep doing things for them i think will make them happy. (like going fishing):D Good luck. Jack
 

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Myself, to improve it for bees I would clear it, level it, and keep it clean as possible to have for a nice bee yard. There is nothing that you can plant that will make any difference in forage.
 

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Let me interject my $.02 worth. I've been a cattle farmer for 40+ years. Cattle farmers, to be succesful must know how to grow pasture & hay. While I have always followed the advice I am going to give you it is the right way to do it. Roundup, expensive , kills every thing if used in the right mixture, 2-4-d, inexspensive, kills all broad leafs, except woody growth, will kill flourabunda rose if you soak every leaf in the spring. The cooler the weather the better. Will also kill all thistles under the same conditions. Crossbow, expensive, kills everything 2-4-d will and some woody plants. Doesn't work well on oak and ash. Haven't found anything to control locust and thorn trees there are a lot of other new products on the market that do some of these things, but they are very expensive. Bushhoging is cheaper. Now sweet white clover is what you want to sow in February on frozen ground or a 1-4" snow. The seed will work their way into the ground. You want to make sure your nutrients are right in your ground. The only way is to take soil samples to your UK extension office, every county has one, Then you know what to put.
Valleyman. Brent Cook. Hart County Ky.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Valleyman, Where do you get the Sweet White Clover seed? I can find the Sweet Yellow all over the internet but cannot find a place to order the white. If I could sew it in Feb on frozen ground that would work out great.

Thanks to everyone for all the info.
 

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I would till up as much of the area as possible and plant/sow as many perinnials and self-seeding annuals as possible that bees like. You wouldn't have to do much to this area after the plants take hold. There are plenty of us on here that could probably mail you see (including me).

I would also plant some trees that bees love like crype myrtles, bee bee trees, and other trees that provide a lot of pollen.

Just my thoughts. I didn't pay any attention as to where you live.
 

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I have researched annuals for bees if you want to go that route or overseed the clover with them. I sowed Borage on an unused garden spot this year. The bees were all over it once it matured. It grows about 3 feet high and is attractive. It's supposed to reseed itself every year. I only had about 40 plants and that wasn't enough to make a difference in a honey crop, but it should have helped them with winter stores. It blooms for months. My idea that I hope to try next year is to sow a couple of acres in rye for winter cattle grazing and then sow it in Borage after the rye is over. I also sow buckwheat each fall for winter stores. Buckwheat honey has a unique taste. Borage and buckwheat should be sowed like clover: barely covered.

Other anual suggestions I have researched are Phacelia, Russian Sage, certain Sunflowers.

The site BEEMASTER has a lot of good info. Cindy on that site seems to be the expert and she has posted some great info & photos.
 

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I personally haven't bought any. It is just what the knowledgable beeks in my area say they like best. I feel sure Southern States, a local coop, or even your county agent will know where you can find it. If you don't PM me. I have other ways to find it. They say it makes the best, clear honey. Other than locust.
 

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Mike:

I too asked the same question last year. Where can you buy WHITE SWEET CLOVER? I think many people get white clover and white SWEET clover confused. Plenty of sources of white clover. One person did give we this source. I have not contacted them yet as I am not in need of seed this year, but I plan on calling them next year. Try this source for WHITE SWEET CLOVER.

http://www.stockseed.com/legumes_product_display.asp?pid=597
 
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